Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Oh Where Oh Where Has My Empathy Gone

I was at least 40 minutes late to work and got busted today by the boss. I wouldn't have been busted except my "out of office" alert left over from yesterday's time off ended up cluing him into the fact that I hadn't gotten into work yet to turn it off. Ugggg. Totally my mistake. After getting up with Molly at 6:40am, I handed her off to Kyle about 7:10am and got back in bed for a catnap. That "catnap" ended up being hard sleep, and I woke up to the sound of the nanny's voice in my house at 8:30am. Ooops. It just indicates my sheer exhaustion.

And the exhaustion continues thanks to today. I had an afternoon of meetings - another one of those hours long "All Hands" meetings, along with a customer call, and a chili potluck for lunch - and when I finally got home tonight, I learned that Claire was saying her ear hurt. Everything seemed low key as the nanny left, but the minute Kyle walked in the door Claire erupted in obnoxious crying that wouldn't stop (she goes to him for comfort now; I'm the tough love mother). I thought it would be good for us if I took her to the clinic, thinking she'd calm down and she would see that I too could be compassionate and loving when she felt bad, but that ended up being the worst idea I've had in months. Claire cried the entire time at the clinic. She wouldn't stop. She made a complete scene, and it was that awful half fake crying/moaning thing with occasional outbursts of screaming, and I literally had to deep breathe not to take my kid's head off in a doctor's office. It turned out to be a very ugly scene - frustrating, embarrassing, irritating, and disappointing.

She has an earache (one side only). The doctor said it looked bad and likely hurts a lot, but my lord, it didn't require such drama. The clinic now sells antibiotics - yipee! - so I paid $15 extra for immediate gratification and no trip to and wait at the drugstore. That's well worth the upcharge.

Claire was completely chipper upon returning home, which sent me into fits. I couldn't be around her. I got lucky with a surprise post-birthday visit from a friend (who dropped off deliciously evil chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons), and the brief conversation cooled my jets and all the kids were in bed by the time I stepped back inside the house. I lost myself in CSI: NY so I could forget the hell of my evening.

I had a brief conversation with Kyle about 'meeting in the middle' in terms of our compassion for the kids - the 'good cop/bad cop' routine isn't working for me. Kyle is overly syrupy with them, which makes me overcompensate with tough love (super tough love) so that we don't create wimpy whiny kids, but it's an awful position to be in when I see my kids go for their dad for compassion versus me. Aren't women supposed to be the empathetic, compassionate caregivers? I feel like a failure as a mom, and I feel I've been put in this position by having to balance his over permissiveness during sick/hurt moments, so I asked him to add in some tough love so I could begin to add in some compassion. I think we'll both be the better parent for it, and the kids won't get such mixed signals either. We'll see if any of this happens. For the moment, I'm still the Mean Mom Who Doesn't Care When Her Kids Are Sick. Just ask Claire.

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